Socialist Worker

Privatisation


London tube walkout is a striking success

27 July 2002
A HUGELY successful strike by London's tube workers last week has shown they have the power to stop New Labour's crazy PPP privatisation scheme. Members of the RMT union struck for 24 hours from 8pm on Wednesday. The same day hundreds of thousands of council workers walked out. The strike hit London Underground management hard.

All out against privatisation in Westminster

27 July 2002
WESTMINSTER council workers began an all-out strike on Monday against a major privatisation plan by their Tory council. The strike in the London council began with 77 workers in the Parking and Highways Licensing Departments striking and staging lively pickets. At least three people joined the Unison union on the picket lines in order to take part in the strike.

Councils

20 July 2002
UNISON MEMBERS working for London's Westminster council are set to start strikes next week over privatisation, attacks on their pensions and working conditions. The action is due to start with 77 workers in the parking and highways licensing departments coming out.

In brief

13 July 2002
Hackney bins the profiteers HACKNEY LABOUR council in east London has carried out a humiliating U-turn over privatisation. It has announced it is taking the bins and street cleaning service back into council control. Serviceteam, the private firm that ran the services for the last 18 months, made up to £9 million "excess profit" from the cash-strapped council. While the privateers cashed in, crucial services have been shut down because the council has "no money".

NHS

13 July 2002
FRIDAY 5 July was the 54th anniversary of the NHS. To mark the anniversary Newcastle Unison petitioned against fat cat pay and creeping privatisation. They got a great response, with several hundred signatures collectedRAY SMITH

Unison must back action by workers

06 July 2002
AROUND 800 council workers are gearing up for a major battle against privatisation. They will be standing up against plans by Tory-controlled Westminster council to privatise the bulk of council services. If the council gets away with its plan every council will be encouraged to press ahead with similar privatisation plans.

Keep arguing for a serious battle

29 June 2002
CRUCIAL DEBATES are going on in the Communication Workers Union about how to respond to the huge attacks postal workers face. At the union's conference last week they discussed what to do about job losses, privatisation and attacks on the union.

Underground

29 June 2002
THE FIGHT against privatisation of London Underground reaches a crucial stage next week. Ballot papers are going out to build strike action among the RMT tube workers' union. London Underground is on the point of forcing workers, including maintenance staff from the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, into the private sector. Blair and London Underground have two aims-massive profits on the one hand and to weaken workers and trade unionists.

Don't let the Royal Mail bosses off so lightly

22 June 2002
ANOTHER 17,000 job losses in the post and a disgracefully lacklustre response from union leaders. That was the bad news for postal workers last week. Workers are being asked to pay for mistakes by the bosses, and the government's crazed commitment to the market and privatisation. The bosses used gross lies to justify the job losses.

Slam brake on tube sell off

22 June 2002
TUBE WORKERS took their fight against the privatisation of London Underground onto the streets last Tuesday. The RMT union's campaign for a yes vote in the ballot for strike action was kicked off by Bob Crow.

London Underground

15 June 2002
NINE THOUSAND London Underground workers are to vote on industrial action. The RMT union ordered a strike ballot over safety and privatisation as the Labour government's moves to sell off London Underground suddenly moved forward last week. Despite earlier talk of the process being tangled up in legal manoeuvres till next year, maintenance workers now face privatisation at the end of this month. RMT members are to be balloted from 14 June. Voting will end on 24 June.

Byers' fall shows Blair's weakness

01 June 2002
STEPHEN BYERS' resignation has struck right at the heart of New Labour. He was one of Blair's closest ministers. As trade secretary and then transport secretary he was at the centre of this government's obsession with privatisation and policies for big business.

Protest forces a climbdown

25 May 2002
NOTTINGHAM council's plans for privatisation were knocked back last week after workers held protests and threatened strike action. Some 500 council workers joined a lobby of the ruling Labour group on Wednesday of last week over privatisation.

Disaster of air sell off

25 May 2002
IT'S NOT only on the railways that privatisation has been a disaster. The computer failure at the new air traffic control centre at Swanwick on Friday of last week meant that the number of flights was cut by half, and tens of thousands of passengers were stranded. This is the third failure of National Air Traffic Services (NATS) computers in three months.

Safety the victim in contract chaos

18 May 2002
RAIL PRIVATISATION has led to a catastrophic collapse in safety standards. Nowhere is this clearer than in the maintenance of the infrastructure-track, signalling, tunnels, bridges, and so on. There were wholesale sackings of experienced rail workers in the run-up to privatisation in 1996.

How many more must die?

18 May 2002
SEVEN MORE victims of rail privatisation. They died last week at Potters Bar, just five miles from Hatfield where another crash killed four people 18 months ago. A rail worker warned his managers of loose bolts and unstable track at Potters Bar just three weeks ago.

A day of international solidarity and socialism

11 May 2002
EDINBURGH: 1,000 people marched for international solidarity and socialism through the streets of Edinburgh to a rally in Princes Street Gardens on Saturday. Palestinian flags flew among trade union and socialist banners as the chants rang out against privatisation and for freedom for Palestine.

Sell-off story

11 May 2002
THE FILM The Navigators by socialist film director Ken Loach has just been released on video. It was written by a former rail worker, and exposes the impact of privatisation on the lives of rail workers. Some workers take a gamble by opting for redundancy money and life as casual workers.

New PFI pilots get booted out

11 May 2002
HEALTH WORKERS last week ripped a hole in the government's strategy to force Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes through in the NHS. The government's plans for the NHS, including those announced in last month's budget, are based on a massive increase in PFI privatisation projects across the health service.

Council housing

04 May 2002
A SECOND group of council tenants have rejected north London's Haringey council's plans for the privatisation of their homes. Some 86 of the 105 tenants on the Leven Drive estate in Waltham Cross took part in the ballot. The result was 57 against and 29 for the transfer to the Aldwyck Housing Association.

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